Orcas kids give back

The value of volunteerism is learned early on for members of the Key Club.

As a Kiwanis International community service club for high schools across the world, members lend their time and talent to organizations in need of a little extra help with just about any task imaginable.

The week of Nov. 2 was an international celebration week for Key Clubs, and Orcas High School’s club is going strong this year with 30 members. President Lanie Padbury, who has been involved with the club since her freshman year and has served as secretary and vice president, says the current freshman class is very involved with this year’s activities.

“The freshman class has experience from the Builders Club, which is the Key Club for middle school. It’s nice that they have that experience to bring to the high school,” Padbury, a senior, said.

The members are primarily girls – only about six boys are participating this year.

“We try to get more boys when we can,” Padbury said.

Many of the students involved with the club also participate in sports and other extracurricular activities. Padbury says it’s “a little crazy” trying to get everyone together for their weekly meetings, where they delegate volunteer projects.

“We get emails from different organizations about doing different jobs,” she said. “We recently helped Kiwanis clean up the little pathway next to the Living Room.”

The club also helped out with the Orcas Rec fundraising dinner at Lulu’s, and will lend their time to the Orcas Island Education Foundation’s “Food for Thought” fundraiser on Nov. 19.

“We also do a lot of babysitting for PTSA,” Padbury said.

A large component of Key Club is teen tutoring. Twice a week high schoolers go to the elementary school during their lunch break to tutor students who have been chosen by teachers to receive extra help.

“It is really fun because it keeps us involved with the elementary school and it lets the little kids have an older ‘buddy’ in the high school,” Padbury said.

Each member is required to do at least 52 hours of volunteer work per year. Their weekly workload depends on what is needed in the community and how much time each student has.

Member Claire O’Neil says the best part is volunteering with her friends. Miles McCloskey says he likes to help others.

“It’s a really good way to help the community,” Padbury said. “OIEF has done so much with the school, so it’s really nice to give back to them. It’s fun too. I really like serving at dinners.”

Have a volunteer project for the Key Club? Contact Margie Doyle at the high school.

A little bit of Key Club history

Key Club is the oldest and largest service program for high school students. It’s a student-led organization that teaches leadership through serving others. Members of the Kiwanis International family, Key Club members build themselves as they build their schools and communities.

Today, Key Club exists on more than 5,000 high school campuses, primarily in the United States and Canada. Key Clubs also exist in many Caribbean nations, Central and South America, Asia and Australia.